Women power to the fore as Reform Scotland strengthens its board


Women power to the fore as Reform Scotland strengthens its board

Petra Biberbach, Laura Gordon and Helen Robertson will play key roles in bolstering and expanding the work of the policy-shaping organisation which aims to set out better ways of delivering increased economic prosperity and more effective public services. 

All three are recognised experts in their fields.

Petra Biberbach is chief executive of award-winning Planning Aid for Scotland, a social enterprise which aims to include more people in the planning system. She is also a member of the Loch Lomond National Park Authority.

Previously, Petra worked for the Council for the Protection of Rural England and before joining Planning Aid for Scotland undertook research and project management for the academic, private and community sectors. Petra was also a sustainable development adviser for Cosla, the local authority umbrella organisation.

She said: ‘Reform Scotland is an agenda setting organisation with imaginative and challenging ideas to take Scotland forward which chimes with my approach to life. I believe it can and does provide new insights and stimulate debate for the benefit of Scotland and I am delighted to become a trustee.’ 

Laura Gordon is chief executive of Corporate Connections International, a global business growth consultancy specialising in strategic alliances, collaborative networks and offering a range of representation and international trade development services. She is an award-winning corporate lawyer and taught corporate and commercial law at Glasgow Graduate School of Law. 

Laura was Director of Glasgow: Edinburgh Collaboration and is currently a Governor of Glasgow Caledonian University. She sits on the Council of CBI Scotland and is the Vice Chair of the Institute of Directors in the West of Scotland. 

She said: ‘I am delighted to join the board of such an effective and influential organisation. In its first three years, Reform Scotland has played an important role in informing and shaping Scotland’s policy agenda in a wide range of key areas.

\\\’With its high level Advisory Board and the strong leadership of Ben Thomson, it has established itself as Scotland’s leading think tank. As a member of the Board of Trustees, I look forward to working with Reform Scotland and continuing to shape Scotland’s economic future in what promises to be a challenging but interesting few years ahead.’ 

Helen Robertson is a former chief executive of Fife Chamber of Commerce and corporate communications manager of Dunfermline Building Society. She now runs her own public relations and communications consultancy.

She has wide experience in dealing with key external stakeholders including Scottish politicians at both Holyrood and Westminster.

She said: ‘Reform Scotland is the country’s most influential non-party think tank and I am delighted to join the board as a trustee. I am also delighted to support the sterling work of Reform Scotland that continues to inform and influence public policy debate for the future. The immeasurable work that has been achieved to date is indicative of the passion that Reform Scotland has for economic prosperity in Scotland.’

Ben Thomson, chairman of Reform Scotland, said: ‘We are very pleased to welcome Petra, Laura and Helen to the team. They are all influential people in their own fields and together bring a huge amount of expertise and wisdom to the board of trustees. I look forward to working with them. Their arrival marks an important milestone in Reform Scotland’s continuing development.’  


  • CEO Planning Aid for Scotland.
  •  MSc in Environmental Management & Energy Systems and a working background in community engagement and sustainable development.
  • Previously worked for the Council for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE.
  •  Undertook research and project management for the academic, private and community sectors.
  •  Member various Scottish Parliament Cross Party Groups, member of the UK Planning Aid Steering Group and member of the Association of Chief Officers of Scottish Voluntary Organisations.
  • Member of Scottish Executive Steering group for the new Planning Advice Note on Community Engagement ‘Planning with People’
  • Director of a green tourism company, BiberBach Initiative GmbH, Germany.


  • CEO Corporate Connections International.
  • LLM , Masters in Information Technology and Telecommunications Law (Strathclyde), LLB , Law (Strathclyde), M.A. Psychology, French, English (Glasgow)
  • Governor, Glasgow Caledonian University.
  • Member of Council CBI Scotland.
  • Vice chair of Glasgow and West of Scotland Committee, Institute of Directors.
  • Member of Scottish Campaign Board, The Princes Royal Trust for Carers.
  • Member of the Scottish North American Business Council (SNABC).
  • Formerly Director of Glasgow : Edinburgh Collaboration, Scottish Enterprise; Director, Glasgow Chamber of Commerce; Director, Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce; member of the Development Board of the RSNO (Royal Scottish National Orchestra); commercial law tutor, Glasgow Graduate School of Law; head of technology & media, Boyds Solicitors.


  • Head of Oystercatcher (Scotland), public relations and communications consultants.
  • Corporate Communications Manage, Dunfermline Building Society (Nov 05-August 10).
  • Chief Executive, Fife Chamber of Commerce (Oct 99-Nov 05)
  • Marketing and membership & event manager, Fife Chamber of Commerce (99-02)
  • Business Development Manager, Glenvarigill, Kirkcaldy (99)
  • Retail Management, Dixons Stores Group (81-99).